Reasons for Smiles

Gründe zu lächeln

Raisons de sourire

Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz

CR 123. Year 1996

Raisons De Sourire Jochen Gerz Cr 123 7 Web
Raisons De Sourire Jochen Gerz Cr 123 4 Web
Raisons De Sourire Jochen Gerz Cr 123 2 Web
Raisons De Sourire Jochen Gerz Cr 123 1 Web

Reasons for Smiles is an interactive work by Esther and Jochen Gerz that will remain incomplete as long as both of its artists live. By contributing an image of your own smile you become a permanent ...

Bei Gründe zu Lächeln ist es die Erinnerung selbst, die Bild wird. Die Bildwerdung des Lächelns, dieser flüchtigsten aller Äußerungen der Erinnerung, markiert den Übergang von Gegenwart in Zeit. In den Fotos der "nach Innen" blickenden Lächelnden ist die Erinnerung verloren, der Umschlag ins Bild markiert das Verschwinden der Erinnerung in der Verfestigung. Das Bild ist nurmehr Erinnerung an eine Erinnerung.

Bernhard Jussen 1997

Throughout his work Gerz continually makes the same demand, both of himself and of his audience: to recognize a “vitality of the past”, and to do so precisely in the fragile instant of the present, that single brief moment when the subject is able to act.

Doris von Drathen 2004


Work in public space

Texts on electronic display panels, workshops, publications, newspaper ads.
Framed b/w negative portraits on mirror glass, size variable.

The residents of Paris are invited in texts displayed on LED panels to mail in an undeveloped roll of film containing pictures of themselves smiling. The invitation is repeated in workshops, symposiums and in publications. Developed, framed negative portraits of the participants are shown in exhibitions.

Stiftung Kunstfonds, Archiv für Künstlernachlässe, Pullheim (Tallahassee fragment)


Paris 1996 (LED-Anzeigen). Tallahassee, FL 1997 (Workshops). Göttingen 1997 (Symposion). Berlin 1997 (Lettre international Heft I-III 1997). Paris 1997 (Libération, Paris 1997 (Journal du Centre national de la photographie, 16.5. - 11.8.1997). Arles 1996


Arles 1997. Vancouver 1997. Paris 1997. Frankfurt 1997. Villingen-Schwenningen 1999. Frankfurt 2000. Paris 2004 (Herouville, St. Clair 2005)


I: Paris 1997. Tallahassee 1997. Bolzano 1999, p. 132. Zürich 2000, p. 81

II: Arles 1997, pp. 22-23. Colard 1997, p. 17. Hinson 1997. Journal 2/1997. Lapiz 149/150, 1999, pp. 54-57. Lettre International 36/1997, p. 113. Les Inrockuptibles, 8.7.1997, p. 17. Libération 21.5.1997, p. 33. Mots. Ecrans. Photos 9/1997, p. 17. Pflaumbaum 1997. Söntgen 1997, p. 35. Stöckmann 1997. Todd 1997. Watson 1997, p. 64

III: von Drathen 1997

V: Jussen 1997, Baqué 2004, pp. 166-167

VI: Docquiert/Piron 1997, p. 80l. Jussen 1997, pp. 33-80

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz